Improve Student Vocabulary: 600 Other Ways to Say Common Things

Your students are bright, but they don’t always sound like it. Their diction is full of cliche and emaciated language that doesn’t reflect their inner voice, nor does it indicate their vocabulary level.

You want your students to use specific language that demonstrates intended meaning rather than the first word that popped into their head, but you want to do more than hand them a thesaurus and tell them to “figure it out.”

We suggest that you start with using more specific verbs and adjectives for commonly used words like ‘said’ and ‘went’ and ‘nice.’ Consider alternatives to ‘dead’ words, like ‘very,’ ‘really,’ and ‘so.’ Instead of ‘very kind,’ how about ‘generous’ or ‘altruistic’?

There are many approaches you can take to improve student vocabulary — these 600 other ways to say common things should give you a head start. While the following graphics aren’t going to magically transform your students into articulate wordsmiths, they can certainly play a role if posted to your classroom blog, shared on a student-teacher pinterest page, hung on a classroom wall, or reformatted, printed, hole-punched, and stored in a student binder.

improving student vocabulary